Gerard Pique’s Alternative Davis Cup Plan Attracts Support Of The World’s Elite

Gerard Pique (zimbio.com)

MADRID: Gerard Pique’s plan of introducing a ‘world cup’ team tournament in men’s tennis have received a cautious approval from three of the biggest names on the men’s tour.

The FC Barcelona player has hosted talks with numerous officials within the tennis world about introducing an alternative to the Davis Cup. Pique’s reported plan is the introduction of a 10-day tournament featuring 16 countries playing at the same venue. The inspiration for the event is based on the world cup in football.

“To see one of the football greats coming to the tennis world and trying to support it personally, but also in some structural business way, can only bring positives to our sport.” Novak Djokovic has said about the proposal.

Djokovic has been spoken to about the plan, along with Andy Murray and Rafael Nadal. The idea is to counter some of the issues concerning the Davis Cup. Critics of the traditional event have argued that it has become impractical for players to commit to due to their scheduling. The Davis Cup occurs at different times throughout the year. It is for this reason why some of the sport’s biggest names skip the event.

“I think it would be great. It would be very interesting to be able to compete for our country. I know that the format will be a 10-day tournament in the same spot. I think that it will be a really good initiative. Hopefully it will take place.” Nadal said in favour of the idea.

The plan is still a long way away from becoming a reality. Speaking in Madrid on Thursday, Djokovic refrained from discussing his conversation with Pique because ‘many things are still not official.’ Then there is the question about when the event will take place during what is already a packed calendar. Still, the high-profile support is gaining momentum by the week.

“I think there’s still a lot of things that need to be worked out before it potentially happens.”Admitted Murray. “I think it would be a very good thing for tennis. Tennis needs an event like that, and I think it would be very good.”

In the past, a Davis Cup alternative has proven a hit. Between 1978-2012, Düsseldorf hosted the World Team Cup. A week-long team tournament. One of the participants was Feliciano Lopez, who is happy for an event of a similar format to return.

“I played that competition for a couple of years. I’ve seen really good players playing there. I saw Sampras playing in that competition.” The 35-year-old recounted.

Whilst many have criticised the Davis Cup, it remains a vital institution in the world of tennis. Under current guidelines from the International Tennis Federation, players need to play in the team event a certain amount of times to be eligible for an Olympic Games. It remains to be seen if Pique’s plan will come to fruition and rival the 117-year-old event.

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